Fur The Love
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
― James Herriot , All Creatures Great and Small
Animals live faithfully beside us in cohabitation through our swirling, busy, and often chaotic lives.
During this prolonged change in our daily routines, our animals are now receiving their fill of our much-deserved attention. It is a time to honor and be grateful for our furry companions, who stay loyally by our sides no matter what is happening in our lives. They also offer us a few additional blessings; as we have an excuse to head out for dog walks to take in the fresh air and wave to other humans. They are there for extra cuddles when we feel a bit cut off from others.
There are so many sayings about the grace and loyalty of pets, but it is worth noting that in this time as we re-connect and ground deeply into our relationships with our furry family, we can observe ourselves through their eyes. We can try to be better humans; a bit closer to the way they see us with their constant beam of unconditional love.
I asked a few friends for a sentence to describe how they feel about their fur family companions during this time:
Hazel: “Hazel brings us comfort and gentle reminders of love and self-care; like taking extra-long walks in the sunshine. This time together is what matters most!” – Sarah H
Happy "Hap" (Haflinger) Max & Henry (Mini Donkeys): "It's good for us to be able to work and care for the animals while we also enjoy the outdoors." - John D & Dana Lynn P
Buick (Boxer Dog) & Boris (Cat): “We love our animals because they are part of our everyday lives. We watch them grow, with their own personalities. They are family, but they don’t speak too much. Only sometimes.” – Charlie P
“Animals are our friends. They listen and are always there for us. They keep us busy and, on our feet, so we aren’t just sitting around!” – Hannah
Harry Potter: “I just lost him a few months ago, but if he was here, he’d be playing in his pool and bringing me a toy to make me laugh. This time would be a blessing because any time with him was always joyful and uplifting to my soul.” – Deb R
Rue "Birdie," & Malcolm (Felines) Kamala (Gold Partridge Dutch Bantam Chick & Sarah Human): "They are soft, warm and tender friends! Being able to continue to care for and nurture living things is something I really need!" - Sarah P
Zoe: “It's nearly impossible to express in a single sentence what Zoe means to us—she is our first born, that which represents unconditional love, the saddest eyes you ever want to come home to, a protector and embodiment of humanity.” – Len S
Griffin & Sabine: "In times like these, they are my lifeline - someone to talk to, keep me entertained, and provide endless comfort and companionship." - Sandra W
Dakota: “Dakota is such a dear friend. He is my first dog, and it took him some time to train me. He is such a blessing now when I’m home during this quarantine.” – Nancy H
Pirate: “He is my demanding loving guy, so he forces me to have a schedule" – Ana A
Lucy: “She rubs against my legs at precisely the time for a neck rub and howls a bit to remind me she’s still there when I stop! I’m so thankful to have her.” – Meggie M
(Harper Spaniel & Lucky Cat): "Our fur family keeps it real! They have no idea we are in lockdown, and still require walks, food and cuddles. This allows us to stay present and not focus on the severity of the situation." - Christina U
Toby B (Corgi age 6): “I’m exhausted. Mom gets up quite early,
and Dad goes to bed very late, so I’m not getting my sleeps!” – Toby B
THANK YOU ALL for sharing your fur family photos & stories. xo
Love is always close; Molly Jo
Your Blackbird Family
You may not realize it, but you have a blackbird crow or raven family; with up to 4 generations living in close proximity to your home.
Multiply this if you have large towering trees above you.
Interestingly, this amazing species has 4 generations working together, raising their babies and taking care of each other.
Interesting Crow Facts:
-Crows are one of the most intelligent animals, and share an avian class with ravens, magpies & blue jays
-They study us, memorizing our faces, and sharing information on who among us is “safe,” and who is a threat
-Crows are highly intelligent. They can learn and adapt, as well as make decisions
The American Crow (All Photos)
"Most young American Crows do not breed until they are at least four years old, and many stay with their parents and help them raise their younger siblings. A family of crows can number up to fifteen, with young from five years, and wintertime communal roots can include up to hundreds of thousands of birds."
Collins, B., & Sibley, D. (2013). Bright wings: an illustrated anthology of poems about birds. Pg 136. New York: Columbia University Press.
Fruit treats are healthy for our wild friends, and they love bread too. (However the Backyard Bird Shop in Portland says bread is empty calories for them, but ...they love bread nonetheless.)
by Marilyn Nelson - 1946
What if to taste and see, to notice things,
to stand each is up against emptiness
for a moment or an eternity--
images collected in consciousness
like a tree alone on the horizon--
is the main reason we’re on the planet.
The food’s here of the first crow to arrive,
numbers two and three at a safe distance,
then approaching the hand-created taste
of leftover coconut macaroons.
The instant sparks in the earth’s awareness.
Interesting Raven Facts:
-They mate for life, and stay in a fixed territory
-They are the largest perching bird, and one of the most intelligent
-Nesting ravens will drop large objects like stones to deflect predators
-They have few natural predators; aside from the red tailed hawk and the great horned owl. They will band together in groups around these, in order to scare them away
-They are inventive when solving problems; which is rare in nature where the trial and error method is common
How can you tell the difference between a crow & a raven ?
I will let Audubon take this one:
Link to the Avian family of Crows, Jays, Ravens & Magpies with Audio:
Good Reads List of Crow and Raven Books:
La Merle Noir (1952)
This was the flute and piano audition piece for the Paris Conservatoire by the French Composer, Olivier Messiaen; which was composed to capture the song of the blackbird.
Thank you for any comments...they help this grow and are much appreciated! - MJ
Stone Stacking & Balancing Across Time
"The origins of stone stacks are older than, well….dirt." -MJ
Have you ever been on a long hike and come across a stone stack?
Maybe you felt a bit of magic and mystery as you examined the natural tower, wondering who balanced it, and why.
"Cairns" in the Scottish Gaelic is defined as, “Man-made stacks of stones,” and they can be found in countries across the planet.
Stone stacks can range from the size of a hill, on down to little river rock formations.
Stacking rocks has been associated with mindfulness as a practice with many purposes & applications.
STACKING MEDITATIVE RITUALS & HONORINGS
Grab some large stones or rocks on your property or on a hike and give one of these a chance to balance:
1. Placing each stone can be used as a ritual of contemplative prayer
2. Each can be placed in gratitude for what presently arises in your mind
3. You can place a stack outside overnight on the full moon to intentionally release all that is no longer needed (Each stone may represent one situation, habit or thing that you wish to release.)
4. On the New Moon, you may create a stack; allowing each stone to be up to 10 creations with wishes for the month to come
5. A stack can represent a loss. It can be a way to spend time honoring a loved one or animal who has passed
6. A stack on a long hike can be a natural wonder to leave as an inspiration for others to behold on their journeys.
To conclude and inspire, check out this video of the amazing stone artist Michael Grab....Stacking in the River!!
LESSONS LEARNED FROM STONE BALANCING
Present Moment Awareness
Love of Simplicity
Prayer & Ritual
Film & Darkroom Rewind